I love Trader Joe’s (And so does Master Chef!)

Due to various and sundry food restrictions in our home, I do most of my grocery shopping in three stores: Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmer’s Market, and Costco. I also get odds and ends at the local Farmer’s Market (when I can go), Whole Foods (if it’s absolutely necessary) and Safeway, but the bulk of our food stuffs come from those three stores. Of these, the one that I visit most regularly is Trader Joe’s. Among the staples we can buy only there are eggs (Golden Hills Dark Yolk) and some dairy products, such as their cream line yogurt, cream top milk (both of which are non-homogenized), the only “lightly pasteurized” goat milk I can find locally (for yogurt), and organic cream without additives.

These are of course not the only items we buy there, and one of my favorite things to do is buy some herb or spice from their collection, because the containers are so easy to recycle. I have collected quite a few for my spice jar collection, which I then refill with the much cheaper bulk spices from Sprouts. Also fantastic are their spice blends, which come with built-in grinders. These, also, are easily reused. In fact, I have a few extra now, so I wish Trader Joe’s carried “refills” for the grinders.  The photograph above would be embarrassing (does anyone really need THAT MUCH lemon pepper?) were it not for the fact that I was so excited to discover that it hadn’t been discontinued. My local Trader Joe’s has stopped carrying it, but I found it at a Scottsdale Trader Joe’s and promptly snatched up four. If you think this is bad, ask my father-in-law how many Trader Joe’s sea salt containers he has stocked in his pantry – just in case they run out!

Imagine my surprise as I spotted a few jars of Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla during Wednesday’s episode (Season 1, Episode 6) of “Master Chef.” It was sitting amongst numerous high-quality vanillas as part of the “invention challenge,” which this week required that contestants use vanilla in a dessert. They had blacked out the “Trader Joe’s” on the label, but any true fan would recognize the bottle. I don’t own a television, so I usually “watch” this (as in, listen and occasionally glance at it) via Hulu.com, so I was able to capture a screenshot. See?

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